Monday, November 16, 2009


There and back again

On 14th November 2009, at close to 1400 hours, Lefty became an engineer. The Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, with the power vested in it by the senate, and by its recommendations, declared me one. Fully decked in the quintessential graduate attire- robes, cap, sash; under the gaze of perhaps the most respected and accomplished engineer in India- E. Sreedharan, I was handed my B.Tech. Several moments later, along with over 250 of my batchmates, the Engineer's oath was taken. Somewhere along this entire ceremony, an attitude of flippancy and frivolity was replaced by feelings of immense joy and unmistakable pride. True, this was not one small step for man one giant leap for mankind. True, better and more deserving hands have accepted the same degree and shall continue to do so. And most importantly, true that the attitude of flippancy and frivolity came rushing back moments after the ceremonial hats had been joyfully tossed once the last dregs of nauseating formality had left the hall. Yet, this was a Moment in the two decades of my life. And for those infinitesimally few seconds as I accepted my degree and walked down, with Mamma, Papa, Chacha and Dadi intently watching, I did feel that with each step that I took, strides were made into another era, into another stage of my life. E.R.- two letters that no one can take away.

Back in Mech 254, most familiar and some unfamiliar faces in front of me. A blackboard showcasing different languages of India (and some imaginary ones, klingon being conspicuous by absence) all saying one word- the word that is not right- behind me. The encore had begun. I still believe I could never have asked for a better last bow, but this was a quiz to remember too. Dela proved, more than once, how my faith in him was never unjustified. Murty had some amazing cracks and didn't disappoint on the ones I'd hoped he wouldn't, yet another reminder how any hopes that I have from that particular trio can never be high enough. The Silent Assassin spoke little, but spoke exceedingly brilliant. And all this while, Ahuja, Raka and co. slowly but surely inched towards their first first. The joy on their faces was palpable, and increasingly reminiscent of that night in April more than 2 years ago, when a certain dinosaur and southpaw had celebrated after finally overcoming the final frontier. Vinu was the quizmaster then, and that was somehow comforting.

Some 40 minutes on my stairway to heaven. Constantly surrounded by ghosts of my past. So many good times came flooding back. The wisecracks would never be the same, the camaraderie had changed forever. This was an orchestra I didn't belong too- there was no Khandu, Shrey, SriP, Midha or Sarthak with me. As I blabbered incoherently, visions of the past would keep flashing by. Baadshah, thank God, made sure I concentrated on only one thing, and on its part concentrated on satisfying only one sense. Changezi, Afghani, fried, none of my demanding taste-buds was left complaining.

An evening like so many at Nesci. Sumedh and Aato on my left. Mittal and Boki on my right. 4 of us keeping up a charade for the benefit of the 5th. A charade that had been so comically and mutually discovered only moments ago. Aimlessly shifting the conversation from this to that, all in an attempt to remain rooted to the spot during those ever lengthening minutes. The black Pajero arrived, and out emerged that familiar lovable silhouette. Google maps tells me that 4136 miles need to be traversed to come from London to R and Sajji had traversed each of them to answer the call that he decided could just not be kept waiting. The hugs and greetings fell woefully short of describing the happiness that that moment held, and trying to put it in words would be the most futile exercise I've ever undertaken. I'll just say Euphoria and carry on.

Random moments from 4 days just gone by. Random reminders of 4 years that flew past. So much happened over the weekend, yet so little now that I look back. I had planned to go back, it transpired that I had never left. I wish I could claim to be the first to make this profound statement, but I have to accept that a certain balding pot-bellied best-selling author did make an observation along similar lines. There's a lock on G-81 but some things can just not be locked in or out. Physical absence notwithstanding, a chunk of the 20 grams of Lefty's soul flits around from corner to corner at a spot 172 kms from the Capital of India. 25 years later, when I finally go back, perhaps I'll take it away.

Friday, November 06, 2009


The times, they're a-changing


A post at long last. A moment to pause. To take a breath. Two perhaps. To stretch out. Smell the roses. To have time to reflect and to contemplate. And not about your strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures, but about this, that and the other. I never thought it would bring so much relief. I'm usually able to manage a post a month, if not more. Never did I think I would be as low as double digits in the pecking order that is there on Dela's and Murty's respective blogs.

It all started with the Inexplicable Result, which built great expectations. The hot season then loomed ominously around the corner, making mental peace and free time a thing of the past. Nothing was as unattainable as leisure. The last month has brought so much to mind that I'd thought I'd like to share with you, but opportune moments would refuse to present themselves. So I'll just ramble on a bit here.

One of the n-things that I did prior to The Week was to prepare what is colloquially known as 'personals'. It was around the same time that Dela came up with his hilarious knotty post. The two things taken together made me foresee that the time was not too far off when some Management grad, who was also some lass's dad, would adopt a similar process to weed out prospective grooms. Questions that I could think off were:
1. What are your long term/short term plans with my daughter?
2. Why do you want to marry my daughter?
3. What are your strengths/weaknesses/successes/failures?
4. Recount one incident from your past which shows you'll make a good groom.
5. What is your statement of purpose (150 words)?
... and so on.

On the D-day, the tragedy of almost becoming a Brilliantly Cool Guy unfolded. I realized that 7, while undoubtedly the most magically powerful number, could be extremely cruel as well. But as always, Lefty took it in his stride, said remember remember the 5th of November and finally phinissed off the game, ra.

Home beckons now. And then it's off to the magic land. Kaun, woh? indeed. Times have scarcely looked more alluring.

Roll out the red carpet people. Lefty might have left, but it's time to rekindle the flame.

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